Grand jury indicts Ohio man held in Capitol terror plot

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Grand jury indicts Ohio man held in Capitol terror plot
This Wednesday Jan. 14, 2015 photo made available by the Butler County Jail shows Christopher Lee Cornell. Cornell plotted to attack the U.S. Capitol in Washington and kill government officials inside it and spoke of his desire to support the Islamic State militant group, the FBI said on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Butler County Jail)
John Cornell, father of Christopher Lee Cornell, talks on the phone at his home, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Green Township, Ohio. His son Christopher, also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, told an FBI informant they should "wage jihad," and showed his plans for bombing the Capitol and shooting people, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Ohio on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dan Sewell)
Lights illuminate the U.S. Capitol, which is covered in scaffolding for restoration, in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. A man who plotted to attack the Capitol and kill government officials inside it and spoke of his desire to support the Islamic State militant group was arrested on Wednesday, the FBI said. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen Wednesday evening, Jan. 14, 2015. A man who plotted to attack the U.S. congressional building and kill government officials inside it and spoke of his desire to support the Islamic State group was arrested on Wednesday, the FBI said. A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Ohio charges Christopher Lee Cornell with attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States. The Capitol Dome is covered with scaffolding for a long-term repair project. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen Wednesday evening, Jan. 14, 2015. A man who plotted to attack the U.S. congressional building and kill government officials inside it and spoke of his desire to support the Islamic State group was arrested on Wednesday, the FBI said. A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Ohio charges Christopher Lee Cornell with attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States. The Capitol Dome is covered with scaffolding for a long-term repair project. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 14: Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., walks behind an armored Capitol Police truck as the House wraps up votes for the week on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 05: Tourist stop to take a picture of the U.S. Capitol, January 5, 2015 in Washington, DC. Tomorrow Congress will convene its first session of the 114th Congress with Republicans controlling both the House and Senate. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Federal Grand Jury indicts man in plot to bomb U.S. Capitol on 3 felony counts http://t.co/rryrjfcYY6 http://t.co/dpz4xqDuqj
Grand jury indicts Ohio man held in Capitol terror plot, @JoeWebbWKRC reports: http://t.co/Vhs3K0Wd3R http://t.co/iEVRsNwwz8
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CINCINNATI (AP) - A grand jury Wednesday indicted the 20-year-old Ohio man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol on charges that include attempting to kill federal officials and employees.

The indictment charges Christopher Lee Cornell, of the western Cincinnati suburb of Green Township, with two counts that carry possible sentences upon conviction of up to 20 years each: attempting to kill U.S. officials and employees, and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. He also faces a firearms-related charge.

The indictment returned in Cincinnati alleges that Cornell was attempting to "kill officers and employees of the United States while (they) were engaged in and on account of the performance of their official duties; specifically, by attempting to attack the United States Capitol Building."

Cornell was arrested outside a gun shop near his home Jan. 14 after the FBI said he bought two M-15 assault weapons and 600 rounds of ammunition. The FBI said in court documents filed last week that Cornell planned to "wage jihad" by attacking the Capitol with pipe bombs and shooting government officials and employees.

He is scheduled for arraignment Thursday.

A message was left Wednesday for his attorney. Cornell's father, John Cornell, has said his son was coerced and misled by "a snitch" trying to better his own legal situation.

A U.S. magistrate last Friday ordered the young man held without bond, saying he poses a danger to the community.

"The serious nature of the alleged offense and the defendant's comfort with extreme violence weigh heavily against bond," Magistrate Stephanie K. Bowman wrote in her order.

Cornell, in handcuffs and leg shackles, spoke softly during the detention hearing to an assistant federal public defender, Karen Savir. Savir told the magistrate Cornell wanted to be addressed by his Muslim name, Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, and to have access to a prayer mat and a clock in jail so he could continue his religious practices.

Savir said he had no history of serious trouble and didn't have a passport. She added that he was "eager to appear in court" to defend against the allegations.

Cornell, who lived with his parents in their apartment and recently ended a seasonal retail store job, had long expressed distrust of government and the news media. Township police said he disrupted a 9/11 memorial ceremony in 2013 by holding up a sign saying the terrorist attacks were "an inside job."

The FBI said he had for months sent social media messages and posted video espousing support for Islamic State militants and for violent attacks by others. Cornell told an informant they should "wage jihad," authorities said in court papers.

It was unclear from court papers if Cornell had made contact with any terrorist groups.

Grand Jury Indicts Ohio Man in Terror Plot


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